The National Democratic Congress (NDC) appears to have used and dumped members of its current leadership in Parliament. The party dropped a bombshell yesterday when it reshuffled the leaders who have been leading the Minority side in Parliament since 2017.
The rather shocking change saw the removal of Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority Leader, the Deputy Minority Leader, James Klutse Avedzi and the Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak.
The trio occupied key positions in the leadership of the minority, during which for the first time in history, an opposition party was able to win the Speakership position.
They have been replaced by Cassiel Ato Forson, the new Minority Leader, who was the spokesperson on finance. The others are Kofi Armah Buah, MP for Ellembelle, appointed as Deputy Minority Leader and Kwame Governs Agbodza, MP for Adaklu, as the Chief Whip.
The changes did not affect the first and second Deputy Chief Whips, Ahmed Ibrahim and Comfort Doyo Ghansah respectively.
The removal of the minority leadership is being opposed by Tamale Central MP, Ibrahim Murtala Mohammed, who believes the party is only bringing in inexperienced legislators to steer the affairs of the Minority Caucus.
He is reported to have said the party ought to have consulted the caucus in Parliament before taking such a decision.
“The timing is completely wrong. What is the basis of changing our parliamentary leadership?” Myjoyonline reported.
“They are only taking away the most experienced leaders and bringing the less experienced ones. Nobody told them we are dissatisfied with the leadership. Who told them we are unhappy with their performance?” the disgruntled lawmaker quizzed.
Some supporters of the NDC in Tamale in the Northern Region, which is close to Haruna’s constituency, minutes after the news broke, massed up at the party’s regional office.
The supporters said the decision will not augur well for the party. They want the leadership of the party to rescind the decision or face their wrath.
The reshuffle in the leadership of the NDC party in parliament has been viewed by a section of the public as former president John Mahama flexing his muscles on his internal opponents.
A section of the supporters of the party, who have alleged that the Mahama agenda is in full flight, have criticised the decision by the party.
Rumors have it that, the new leadership of the party, led by Asiedu Nketiah is covertly and overtly working to ensure that Mahama is elected as the flag bearer of the NDC.
On several platforms, some executives have made indirect statements to the effect that they support the candidature of Mahama.
Many are worried about the modus-operandi of the Mahama camp, working to kick away anyone who will not support Mahama, and to completely takeover the party.
SIGNS OF MISTRUST
This paper has observed that the signs were on the wall on the mistrust of the leadership of the minority by the Adabraka based party leadership, way back in 2021, when now National Chairman, Asiedu Nketiah, was the General Secretary.
The party went hard on the leadership of the Minority in Parliament for approving some ministers for the second term of the Akufo-Addo government.
It would be recalled that Sammy Gyamfi, the National Communications Officer, heavily criticised the then leadership, accusing them of “brazenly defying the leadership of the party and betraying the collective good for their selfish interest.”
Sammy Gyamfi’s post on Facebook alleged that: “some [of the MPs] have sold their conscience but ours is intact. And we can work together to rebuild the party from the ashes of 3rd March 2021, which I call “Black Wednesday”- Our day of self-inflicted shame.”
Haruna Iddrisu had also suffered attacks on his comments made in support of the controversial E-Levy. He later denied his earlier statement that the minority was against the tax.
However, the Chairman of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah has justified the change in leadership of the party in Parliament, as well as the timing.
According to him, the change forms part of the reorganisation process to help the party capture political power during the 2024 elections.
Touching on the timing of the party’s decision and its intended effect, Mr. Nketiah stressed that the timing is in line with plans to fully prepare the party for the race ahead.
“In terms of why, what it tells you is that the only constant thing is change. Since the environment is changing, leadership must change along with the new environment,” he said.
General Mosquito explained further that as the days of the elections get closer, the debate on the floor of Parliament will change to issues on the economy, infrastructure and energy, hence it is important the NDC put the best in those fields to properly argue their stance.
“We know for instance that going into election 2024, the economy is going to be the major battle ground and many of the debates will focus on the economy. So you better put your best man in economy forward, that is what we have done.
“We also looked at energy. You know the petroleum and electricity challenges, so we needed to settle on Kofi Armah Buah, our former minister, to be the Deputy Minority Leader
“The other area is infrastructure, Kwame Agbodza being our man in infrastructure should play a key role that generally is what informed the changes” he added.
But, many have questioned how prudent it is for Ato Forson to replace Haruna Iddrisu, and Kwame Agbodza for Mohammed Muntaka Muraka, on the basis of the chairman’s explanation to the media.
They argued that anytime there was debate on specific sectors, the minority leadership had been ceding their time to experts on their side to debate.
Asiedu Nketia also told the media that the party looked at regional balance, and that the change had nothing to with the performance of the leaders.
“What it has a lot to do about is that the environment is changing, so if you are a football coach and the team you are facing and the game style they are adopting is not in keeping with the players you have put out there, you will do yourself a lot of good to make changes.”
He said the outgoing leadership has been duly informed through a “special letter,” but the entire Caucus is yet to be officially notified. Mr Nketiah said they will be informed when the House resumes.
Meanwhile, the outgoing minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu, has made a post on his social media page, subtly reacting to the change.
His official social media page was updated with an advice: “never let a wishbone grow where a backbone should be,” and ended that “I will, and forever serve my country.”